|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 36g||46%|
|Saturated Fat 15g||75%|
|Total Carbohydrate 24g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||13%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 16mg||80%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
There's nothing like a hands-off comfort food hamburger and macaroni casserole when you want something satisfying but don't want to do a lot of work. This pasta and ground beef casserole recipe makes a great-tasting dinner for any night of the week, and is great as leftovers, too.
It comes together easily with ingredients you may very well have on hand—onions, bell pepper, and celery mixed with spices, spaghetti sauce, and tomato paste. The dish is then topped with shredded cheese—of course—to make one a hearty and comforting dish.
You can use elbow macaroni or any other small pasta shape, such as shells, fusilli, or penne.
Add a tossed salad and warm rolls or crusty bread for a perfect meal.
"Pasta, meat, and cheese is never wrong which makes this hot satisfying casserole so very right." —Kysha Harris
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (32-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce, or homemade sauce
8 ounces elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Fill a pasta pot with cold water and set on a burner over medium-high heat. When the pasta water comes to a boil, salt the water, stir and taste. It should taste like the sea. Undersalted? Add more. Oversalted? Pour out some water and add fresh water until you get the right balance.
While the water is coming to a boil, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for about 3 to 4 minutes, until tender.
Add tomato paste and stir to incorporate into the vegetables, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
Add the ground beef and season with another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until no longer pink.
Add the spaghetti sauce. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour pasta into boiling salted water gradually while stirring the water. When the water returns to a boil, begin the cooking time as directed by the packaging for al dente doneness. Drain.
Add pasta to meat sauce. Stir to blend.
Transfer half of the mixture to a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish and top with half of the cheese. Add remaining mixture and top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbly.
- Add some sliced mushrooms for additional flavor and texture.
- Any good marinara or tomato sauce that tastes great with pasta will work.
- Substitute ground turkey, pork, or chicken for the beef in this recipe, or create a combination of ground meat. A plant-based ground beef would also work in this recipe.
- Use shredded mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or a spicy Monterey Jack cheese instead.
- If your spaghetti sauce tastes bland, feel free to add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning to it.
- For a crustier top, place the baked casserole under the broiler for a minute or two to get nicely browned bits. However, do not broil the casserole if you are using glass bakeware, as it could crack even if it states that it's oven safe or heat resistant.
How to Store and Freeze
Leftover casseroles can be stored for three to four days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
You can also freeze any leftovers of this casserole in an airtight container for three to six months. Defrost in the refrigerator and then bake at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes until hot, or bake right from frozen at the same temperature for a bit longer, until completely hot.